As 2011 draws to a close it is time to reflect on another year on the muddy banks of the Dee. A quick glance through the hard drive reveals over 15,000 images have been copied to it from CF cards.
(Seems a lot, but compared to professional snappers it aint that much).
Most are fit for the recycle bin and will end up there when I get around to it, but some are moments captured that mean something to me.
There are connections to the birds that live on or pass through my Patch, reminders of adventures along the Wirral Way or Hilbre Island, or just species I have a soft spot for.
I have spent some time reviewing some of these 15,000 images and thought I'd select a top 5. Trouble is I've had a great year and there were so many moments I ended up with a shortlist of 12.
So here they are. They are not the greatest pictures ever taken, and they are not presented in any order of preference. They are my 2011.
1. Chiffchaff along the Wirral Way. Companions on cycle rides from early Spring.
2. Wheatear on migration. Looking back at the journey so far, poised for the final push North.
3. Short-eared Owl. A chance encounter on Hilbre Island. The eyes have it....
4. Reed Warbler. Sharing the early morning with the birds at Red Rocks.
5. Snow Bunting. Not the sharpest image ever, but the grains of sand on the bill and the seed spilled from it made the image for me.
6. Juvenile Swallow. The impending journey is a long and daunting one, flexing of the wings muscles required. As I type this post this bird could be chasing bugs in South Africa....
Looking back has been fun. It has shown me that I have had some great times out on the Patch and makes me realise I have more to learn with the camera. It also has me hankering after the summer!
Part two soon....